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(Deadspin)   The human element in baseball - Part 2: The generous strike zone called during Jered Weaver's no-hitter   (deadspin.com) divider line 218
    More: Fail, strike zone, no-hitter, baseball  
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3021 clicks; posted to Sports » on 04 May 2012 at 11:29 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-04 07:41:45 AM
Um.... so I count, by that chart, 12 strikes outside the zone, and 9 balls inside the zone.

That doesn't seem like much more than minor statistical deviation.
 
2012-05-04 08:34:47 AM
Still not as bad as Eric Gregg's
 
2012-05-04 10:08:25 AM

Rincewind53: Um.... so I count, by that chart, 12 strikes outside the zone, and 9 balls inside the zone.

That doesn't seem like much more than minor statistical deviation.


Weaver got 11 of those outside-the-zone strikes, vs. 1 for the opposing pitcher. That's very odd.

The issue is that the PitchFx cameras/software can call balls and strikes nearly perfectly in real time. Put earpieces in the home plate umpires, link it to the software, and they would all call the same strike zone for every pitcher. They could have it implemented for testing within the month for a few thousand dollars. The fan experience wouldn't change-- there would still be a person on the field to make all the calls, there would be no need to pause the game for instant replays, etc.

The only difference is you won't have those days where an umpire decides that the bottom of the strike zone is at the shoelaces, and it won't (further) devolve into the NBA's system of one set of rules for stars and one set of rules for everyone else.
 
2012-05-04 10:25:35 AM

chimp_ninja: The issue is that the PitchFx cameras/software can call balls and strikes nearly perfectly in real time. Put earpieces in the home plate umpires, link it to the software, and they would all call the same strike zone for every pitcher.


Baseball is people, not computers.
 
2012-05-04 10:36:36 AM
Part of the game is learning an ump's strike zone. As long as the ump is consistent from the first inning to the last inning and for both teams, there's no problem.

Some of the outside pitches in the diagram are WAY outside. Unless the ump felt they crossed the plate, I'd have a hard time believing it.

I for one would NOT want the ump removed from behind the plate...but instant replay for HRs, and plays at the bases? Sure.
 
2012-05-04 10:37:30 AM

Sliding Carp: chimp_ninja: The issue is that the PitchFx cameras/software can call balls and strikes nearly perfectly in real time. Put earpieces in the home plate umpires, link it to the software, and they would all call the same strike zone for every pitcher.

Baseball is people, not computers.


I watch baseball to watch the athletes compete, not the umpires. The less influence they have over the game's result, the happier I am.

You may wish to consider figure skating. There, a bunch of people just watch what happens, and arbitrarily decide who wins. Tons of human element! Lots of drama about why the judges screwed someone! You'd love it.
 
2012-05-04 10:37:55 AM
OMG a pitcher with a pretty good reputation, who was throwing a no-hitter, got an expanded strike zone! That NEVER happens and is the most terrible thing in the world!

/don't see a problem with guys getting the benefit of the doubt after proving themselves
//guess what, life ain't fair
 
2012-05-04 10:49:46 AM
We must keep human error in baseball and make sure teams continue to get screwed even though we now have the means to make it better because apple pie and America.
 
2012-05-04 10:57:59 AM

IAmRight: OMG a pitcher with a pretty good reputation, who was throwing a no-hitter, got an expanded strike zone! That NEVER happens and is the most terrible thing in the world!

/don't see a problem with guys getting the benefit of the doubt after proving themselves
//guess what, life ain't fair


that's the dumbest goddamned thing i've ever heard.
 
2012-05-04 11:01:03 AM

IAmRight: OMG a pitcher with a pretty good reputation, who was throwing a no-hitter, got an expanded strike zone! That NEVER happens and is the most terrible thing in the world!

/don't see a problem with guys getting the benefit of the doubt after proving themselves
//guess what, life ain't fair


OMG the rules were changed to possibly artificially create a situation which may not have existed if the game were called in accordance with the actual rules!

If he did it for Weaver he should have done it for the Twins, and the difference between the two sets shows a clear bias which only gives strength to the argument toward laser tracking for accuracy. If he were calling those kind of pitches for the Twins, this would be more of a non-issue, but the 12/1 ratio suggests very otherwise.
 
2012-05-04 11:06:56 AM
Here you go, subby

The Stirke Zone throughout history

Baseball is a human game. Some humans are taller, some are shorter. Some earn the benefit of the doubt through respect of other players and umpires. Some umpires call the low strike, some call the outside strike, others the inside strike, most sit slightly off to the right so they don't take as many batted balls off their heads. Some catchers can frame a pitch so that a ball looks like a strike.

The people who scream the most about replay and the "human element" are people that normally have money riding on the game, and if you're betting on baseball you are a moron, because if you know anything about baseball is that it's a human game.
 
2012-05-04 11:09:40 AM

WTF Indeed: The people who scream the most about replay and the "human element" are people that normally have money riding on the game, and if you're betting on baseball you are a moron, because if you know anything about baseball is that it's a human game.


i've never bet on baseball in my life and i don't mind umps defining their own strike zone, but how could anyone think it's reasonable to allow the rules to be applied differently to one team than the other in a game?
 
2012-05-04 11:16:29 AM

thomps: i've never bet on baseball in my life and i don't mind umps defining their own strike zone, but how could anyone think it's reasonable to allow the rules to be applied differently to one team than the other in a game?


www.nba4all.com

Now you're upsetting their hero, Tim Donaghy. He really brought the human element to the NBA, didn't he!
 
2012-05-04 11:20:45 AM

thomps: i've never bet on baseball in my life and i don't mind umps defining their own strike zone, but how could anyone think it's reasonable to allow the rules to be applied differently to one team than the other in a game?


Because what you have in this article is called a shiatty argument against the umpire. They don't show the pitch track for the Minnesota pitchers, they don't show the umpires average strike calls. It doesn't take into account the skill of the catcher for both teams. More than likely, you'd see a similar pattern for the other team.
 
2012-05-04 11:23:30 AM

WTF Indeed: thomps: i've never bet on baseball in my life and i don't mind umps defining their own strike zone, but how could anyone think it's reasonable to allow the rules to be applied differently to one team than the other in a game?

Because what you have in this article is called a shiatty argument against the umpire. They don't show the pitch track for the Minnesota pitchers, they don't show the umpires average strike calls. It doesn't take into account the skill of the catcher for both teams. More than likely, you'd see a similar pattern for the other team.


well you've already conceded that "[s]ome earn the benefit of the doubt through respect of other players and umpires," even if you don't believe the people in this thread who say the same zone wasn't given to the minnesota pitcher.
 
2012-05-04 11:25:55 AM

WTF Indeed: The people who scream the most about replay and the "human element" are people that normally have money riding on the game, and if you're betting on baseball you are a moron, because if you know anything about baseball is that it's a human game.


I've never placed a single bet on baseball, and it's been 20 years since I've bet on any goddam sport.

The strike zone is defined in the rule book. Umpires don't get to have a personal strike zone. When they do, it makes me go apeshiat like few other things in this world, it hurts the credibility of the sport, and makes me not want to watch it.

People who love the human element tend to follow teams with lots of expensive superstars who reap the benefit of shiatty strike zone calling.
 
2012-05-04 11:26:05 AM
I would think that a game that relies on statistics for as much of its intrigue as baseball does would consider a 12:1 bias in favor of one team a bigger deal than some people here are suggesting.

What if an ump called one team safe when a runner's foot was 10" off the bag 12 times more often than the other team? Is that part of the human element also?
 
2012-05-04 11:34:31 AM

sigdiamond2000: We must keep human error in baseball and make sure teams continue to get screwed even though we now have the means to make it better because apple pie and America.


Everything needs to be sterile and perfect in baseball otherwise I can't enjoy my life one bit.
 
2012-05-04 11:35:03 AM

thomps: well you've already conceded that "[s]ome earn the benefit of the doubt through respect of other players and umpires," even if you don't believe the people in this thread who say the same zone wasn't given to the minnesota pitcher.


Certain players get borderline calls. Other players get more leeway with an umpire about arguing balls and strikes. For example, last night Derek Jeter got called out on a ball below his knees, because the catcher was able to frame it well. Jeter walked over to umpire and asked where that pitch was. That's what I meant by benefit of the doubt. It's not Japan where pitchers and umpires call VERY bad games because they respect players or managers.

You know who they says used to get a lot of borderline calls in his favor? Hank Aaron in his later career, because he was farking HANK AARON.
 
2012-05-04 11:38:30 AM

Babwa Wawa: The strike zone is defined in the rule book. Umpires don't get to have a personal strike zone. When they do, it makes me go apeshiat like few other things in this world, it hurts the credibility of the sport, and makes me not want to watch it.

People who love the human element tend to follow teams with lots of expensive superstars who reap the benefit of shiatty strike zone calling.


You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.
 
2012-05-04 11:40:32 AM
If you want robots in baseball, go watch blernsball.
 
2012-05-04 11:40:50 AM

WTF Indeed: You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.


You left out the incredibly inexact science of spotting the ball after every play, which involves a 60-year old man running from 20-30 yards away to make the ball with his foot based on where he thinks a tackle was made.

UNACCEPTABLE HUMAN ERROR COMPUTER REFS NOW OR MY LIFE CAN'T GO ON!!!
 
2012-05-04 11:42:46 AM

Elandriel: If he were calling those kind of pitches for the Twins, this would be more of a non-issue, but the 12/1 ratio suggests very otherwise.


Oh, small sample size is suddenly significant now.

/I am curious, though not curious enough to research it, how many of those were called early in the game and how many were called later.
 
2012-05-04 11:43:43 AM
Keep the home plate ump but give them a HUD in one eye with something similar to the K zone technology for calling balls and strikes.
 
2012-05-04 11:47:35 AM
In the movie adaptation of the Jared Weaver life story, the part of Mark Carlson will be played by a fat Ray Liotta

mlb.mlb.com
www.contactmusic.com
 
2012-05-04 11:48:48 AM

Sliding Carp: chimp_ninja: The issue is that the PitchFx cameras/software can call balls and strikes nearly perfectly in real time. Put earpieces in the home plate umpires, link it to the software, and they would all call the same strike zone for every pitcher.

Baseball is people players, not computers umpires.


FTFY
 
2012-05-04 11:49:34 AM

Yanks_RSJ: WTF Indeed: You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.

You left out the incredibly inexact science of spotting the ball after every play, which involves a 60-year old man running from 20-30 yards away to make the ball with his foot based on where he thinks a tackle was made.

UNACCEPTABLE HUMAN ERROR COMPUTER REFS NOW OR MY LIFE CAN'T GO ON!!!


you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.
 
2012-05-04 11:49:59 AM

9beers: Keep the home plate ump but give them a HUD in one eye with something similar to the K zone technology for calling balls and strikes.


I am 100% in favor of cyborg umpires.
 
2012-05-04 11:52:14 AM

thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.


You're right, strike zones aren't an inexact application of the strike zone. Those umps are just completely changing the rules.
 
2012-05-04 11:52:20 AM

WTF Indeed: Jeter walked over to umpire and asked where that pitch was. That's what I meant by benefit of the doubt. It's not Japan where pitchers and umpires call VERY bad games because they respect players or managers.


It would be shameful to strike out Jeter looking.
 
2012-05-04 11:53:08 AM

WTF Indeed: The people who scream the most about replay and the "human element" are people that normally have money riding on the game, and if you're betting on baseball you are a moron, because if you know anything about baseball is that it's a human game.


No, the people screaming about replay are those who want the game we enjoy to be fair.

Gamblers don't want replay or robot umps, because those can't be bought off.
 
2012-05-04 11:56:17 AM

slayer199: As long as the ump is consistent from the first inning to the last inning and for both teams, there's no problem.


So what you're saying is, we have a problem.
 
2012-05-04 11:56:17 AM

thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.


No, I'm understanding that umpires have different strike zones because people see things differently. That's also an inexact application of the rules, and I don't happen to see it as intentional.

But hey, I'm able to accept human error and go on living my life enjoying baseball and all other sports. I also don't look for reasons to take away from the accomplishment of pitching a no-hitter.
 
2012-05-04 11:56:36 AM

bulldg4life: In the movie adaptation of the Jared Weaver life story, the part of Mark Carlson will be played by a fat Ray Liotta


images.wikia.com

Has half a mind to enjoy a fat Ray Liotta.
 
2012-05-04 11:57:16 AM

IAmRight: Elandriel: If he were calling those kind of pitches for the Twins, this would be more of a non-issue, but the 12/1 ratio suggests very otherwise.

Oh, small sample size is suddenly significant now.

/I am curious, though not curious enough to research it, how many of those were called early in the game and how many were called later.


I am too.

And 10% of a pitcher's typical game isn't really a small sample size. (Assuming he threw approximately 120 pitches for the complete game.)

WTF Indeed: They don't show the pitch track for the Minnesota pitchers


Isn't the triangle the Minnesota pitches? If so then there were at least 6 MN pitches in the same region as the Angels pitches that were called balls (appropriately) that, were the same strike zone employed equally across teams, should have been considered strikes.
 
2012-05-04 11:57:51 AM

IAmRight: thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.

You're right, strike zones aren't an inexact application of the strike zone. Those umps are just completely changing the rules.


if each ump has a different strike zone that is applied differently to different pitchers and batters then yes, they are changing the rules.
 
2012-05-04 11:58:11 AM

Yanks_RSJ: WTF Indeed: You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.

You left out the incredibly inexact science of spotting the ball after every play, which involves a 60-year old man running from 20-30 yards away to make the ball with his foot based on where he thinks a tackle was made.

UNACCEPTABLE HUMAN ERROR COMPUTER REFS NOW OR MY LIFE CAN'T GO ON!!!


If there was a way to quickly and accurately determine the correct spot of the ball by using technology, it should be implemented. The Hawkeye system in tennis is a huge improvement over humans determining whether balls were in/out. Old ass Hank Aaron doesn't deserve a bigger strike zone than a rookie.
 
2012-05-04 11:58:18 AM

bubbaprog: Gamblers don't want replay or robot umps, because those can't be bought off.


I'm sure there was lots of money on a no-hitter that day.

Most gamblers would LOVE robots in charge of everything, it's one less thing to account for.
 
2012-05-04 11:58:20 AM

bulldg4life: In the movie adaptation of the Jared Weaver life story, the part of Mark Carlson will be played by a fat Ray Liotta

[mlb.mlb.com image 275x235]
[www.contactmusic.com image 300x387]


Holy crap those guys look alike
 
2012-05-04 11:58:51 AM

thomps: IAmRight: thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.

You're right, strike zones aren't an inexact application of the strike zone. Those umps are just completely changing the rules.

if each ump has a different strike zone that is applied differently to different pitchers and batters then yes, they are changing the rules.


Well the strike zone has to change for batters, since they're different heights and approach the plate differently.
 
2012-05-04 11:58:56 AM

WTF Indeed: Babwa Wawa: The strike zone is defined in the rule book. Umpires don't get to have a personal strike zone. When they do, it makes me go apeshiat like few other things in this world, it hurts the credibility of the sport, and makes me not want to watch it.

People who love the human element tend to follow teams with lots of expensive superstars who reap the benefit of shiatty strike zone calling.

You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.


I'm going to assume you've never seen a Lions game.
 
2012-05-04 11:59:09 AM

Yanks_RSJ: thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.

No, I'm understanding that umpires have different strike zones because people see things differently. That's also an inexact application of the rules, and I don't happen to see it as intentional.

But hey, I'm able to accept human error and go on living my life enjoying baseball and all other sports. I also don't look for reasons to take away from the accomplishment of pitching a no-hitter.


so you can't enjoy a game and also wish that simple steps were taken to improve its officiating?
 
2012-05-04 12:00:20 PM

Treygreen13: thomps: IAmRight: thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.

You're right, strike zones aren't an inexact application of the strike zone. Those umps are just completely changing the rules.

if each ump has a different strike zone that is applied differently to different pitchers and batters then yes, they are changing the rules.

Well the strike zone has to change for batters, since they're different heights and approach the plate differently.


obviously, i meant that they give deference to some players over others.
 
2012-05-04 12:01:14 PM

thomps: Treygreen13: thomps: IAmRight: thomps: you seem to be confusing inexact application of rules to actively changing the rules to fit your personal preferences.

You're right, strike zones aren't an inexact application of the strike zone. Those umps are just completely changing the rules.

if each ump has a different strike zone that is applied differently to different pitchers and batters then yes, they are changing the rules.

Well the strike zone has to change for batters, since they're different heights and approach the plate differently.

obviously, i meant that they give deference to some players over others.


Oh, then carry on.
 
2012-05-04 12:01:17 PM

Sliding Carp: Baseball is people, not computers.


i830.photobucket.com

/sorry, first thing I thought of
 
2012-05-04 12:01:59 PM

thomps: if each ump has a different strike zone that is applied differently to different pitchers and batters then yes, they are changing the rules.


No, they're interpreting the rules. They are asked to pick a spot 10 feet in front of them and tell where a ball is in three-dimensional space while coming at them over an 18-inch plate. The differences aren't some overt rule - you ever have situations at work where you can't decide if something's good or bad, so you check with someone else? If the person who offers their opinion is a known moron, you go with the opposite of what they say. If the person who offers their opinion tends to be right about things, you're inclined to agree with them. So it goes in a quicker manner for some calls.

/I'd be interested to see a challenge where people try to umpire a major-league game and compare their calls with a pitch tracker
 
2012-05-04 12:03:13 PM

Elandriel: Isn't the triangle the Minnesota pitches? If so then there were at least 6 MN pitches in the same region as the Angels pitches that were called balls (appropriately) that, were the same strike zone employed equally across teams, should have been considered strikes.


I didn't see that, thanks. From the looks of it Minnesota pitchers were trying for a lot of low and inside, and Weaver was going for high and outside. If you watch really good pitcher in the first inning he will throw a lot of corner fastballs to see where the strike zone is. The umpire was giving the outside (to righties) inside to lefties.
 
2012-05-04 12:03:19 PM

WTF Indeed: You sound like a football fan. Guess what? Holding goes on every play of every game, and the refs don't call it. Every play in the NFL is tainted by the fact that their should be penalties on every play. That would really suck to watch, so guess what they don't do? Call Holding on every single play.


You sound like a presumptive jerk.

Whether I'm a football fan or not (it's definitely not my favorite sport), every sport in existence aside from baseball seeks to minimize the effect of human error on the outcome of the game.

Only a baseball fan defends and even promotes the role of human error and bias in their game. The irony of this alongside the statistics fetish displayed by so many fans has already been noted by Jubeebee. It really is fascinating.

At any rate, a holding call is a judgement call based on the degree to which the offending player impeded the motion of his opponent, and you're right to an extent - if every holding offense were called, it would be a poor game.

However, that's not to be compared to a strike zone. The strike zone is clearly defined in the rule book. A ball that passes through the zone is a strike. One that doesn't is a ball. There would be no difference to the entertainment value of the game strikes and balls were called accurately. The technology exists to do it, but I really don't care so much about that.

What's galling to me is that umpires believe for some reason that they can ignore the rule book and define their own strike zone. They're completely open and unapologetic about it.

And you could see their arrogance during their strike. The only referee organization who believes they are "part of the game." Absurd.
 
2012-05-04 12:03:30 PM
It's one of the things that keeps me from following baseball more closely. Every game I watch, at least 3-4 ball/strike calls are clearly wrong. Just automate the process, already!
 
2012-05-04 12:03:49 PM
img191.imageshack.us

Seriously.

And, he's aware of it, too. We told him several years ago.
 
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